“It was love at first sight. […] By day I liked him almost better. He had beautifully bad manners and was the first person I had met who seemed completely uninhibited and free and unconventional,” wrote Minna Tube, looking back on her first meeting with Max Beckmann. Max and Minna studied at the Art School of the Grand Duchy of Saxony in Weimar, and they fell in love there at a carnival party in February 1903. In 1904 they both moved to Berlin, where they were married two years later.

Beckmann highlighted his close relationship with his wife in a painting he described as a "double self-portrait". The two figures, strikingly similar, lean slightly towards each other. The painting sealed Beckmann’s reputation as a significant portraitist of his age. The art critic Karl Scheffler, who saw it on show in Berlin at Paul Cassirer’s art salon, commented: “There is much tenderly and boldly poetic talent in Beckman. […]; and it is almost heart-wrenching how the two young people gaze pale with yearning out of the canvas.”

Beckmann’s devotion to Minna Tube is reflected in fervent letters to his soulmate: “If you should no longer be mine nor I yours. Whether you will it or not, whether you hate me or love me or lose interest in me, you will always be part of my soul, and as such you will work and feel alongside me. Over time and space, companion of my soul, you belong to me.” Despite their divorce in 1925 and Beckmann’s marriage to Mathilde von Kaulbach, nicknamed “Quappi”, Minna and Max remained friends until Beckmann died in New York in 1950.

This and other works depicting the women Max Beckmann loved in his life are on show at the exhibition Max Beckmann und Berlin zu sehen.

Guided german tour "Max Beckmann und die Liebe":
19.12., 02.01., 16:30 Uhr – 17:30 Uhr

More informationen here.

Read more stories about Max Beckmann here.


Berlinische Galerie

Landesmuseum für Moderne
Kunst, Fotografie und Architektur
Stiftung Öffentlichen Rechts

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